4 ways to make your family’s holiday portraits shine

(BPT) – Take a look at your family. How many changes have crept in since last year? And one year from now, when it’s time to send out holiday cards again, think about how much more they will have changed.

Sending a family photograph as your holiday card is one way to share with your friends and loved ones the joy and pride your family makes you feel. But more importantly, as the years pass, the holiday memories within these pictures will become more and more precious.

It certainly is easy enough to have a friend snap some pictures on a smartphone and print off a stack of copies with a pre-designed template. But if you take the idea a couple of steps further, booking a session with a professional photographer will result in stunning cards that people will love to display and keep. In addition to that, you’ll have framed gifts to wrap up for your loved ones.

The advantage to using a professional photographer is that they have the skills and artistic ability to make beautiful images that you will cherish forever. In addition to that, they can partner with you to create a style and effect that matches your family’s unique personality. To get you started, here are four different styles that just might capture your family’s personality and the magic of the holiday spirit.


Simple yet timeless, this background is often neutral with the family sitting in formal poses. The photographer is less likely to use editing effects to alter the finished product. To prepare for this, choose a color and style that is clean, uniform and classic — something that would be set off by a holiday-themed border when you’re designing your card layout. In the end, the goal is to draw the eye to the face, which is what the classic style emphasizes more than anything.


This style ditches the formal posing and creates a relaxed, candid feel. You come as you are, perhaps using a setting that is familiar and comfortable to your family, such as building a snowman in your backyard or taking a hike through the winter woods. Whatever you bring to the shoot, the idea is to showcase your family relaxed and happy together.


This style takes the modern approach to a highly specialized, highly individualized level and uses special effects and editing to convey humor or a sense of drama. For example, perhaps your holiday portrait could feature your family members forming a human ladder to place a star on the top of the tree. Look for a photographer with the savvy and technique to pull off these specific effects and dramatic images.


What’s old is once again new. What better way to call back to the family roots that tie your loved ones together? You can express this by pulling from your family heritage. For example, you could dress your daughter in your childhood velvet dress. Or include your grandfather’s vintage toy train set as a prop. Some photographers specialize in black and white photography, as well as sepia effects. Of course, if you really want to try an authentic and timeless look, some photographers are experimenting with glass plate photography.

Which style of photography is right for you and your family? Take a “Family Photography Style quiz” and, once you’re ready for your new photo session, check out findaphotographer.com to find the right photographer for you and in your city.